After a two-year investigation, the city's department of consumer affairs is accusing a super-sized Queens car dealership of taking consumers — and their credit — for a ride. NY1's Clodagh McGowan has the story.
The commercials for the Major World Car Dealership promise no pressure sales tactics and affordable financing.
But according to the city's department of consumer affairs (DCA), the claims are misleading.
"These ads typically promise loans even when you have poor credit, and often result in predatory lending targeted at New Yorkers with limited English proficiency and with poor credit history," said Lorelei Salas, the commissioner of the department of consumer affairs.
It's something Benjamin Cintron says he knows well. He says that as soon as he stepped through the doors, he felt pressure to buy a car — without getting enough information about the purchase he was about to make.
"It was like a circus atmosphere," Cintron said. "It was fast-paced, they didn't give you a chance to speak. Everything was, 'Initial here and sign here.'"
The DCA says Cintron is one of 30 Major World customers who will get restitution as a result of the investigation.
The agency says the dealership targeted Spanish speakers by forcing the customers to sign contracts in English — even though the verbal negotiations were done in Spanish.
DCA also alleges that Major World inflated car values, sold defective vehicles, and even changed incomes and job titles on loan papers so applicants would qualify.
"In my case, they didn't put my income; they put my girlfriend's income down — it was higher — to inflate the loan, so I ended paying a blown up loan that I couldn't afford," Cintron said.
The DCA is seeking nearly $2 million in fines and restitution, and calling for the revocation of the dealership's license.
NY1 reached out to major world for a response, but we have not heard back.
The DCA is also asking any additional customers with complaints to call 311 to file a report about their experiences, or you can head to nyc.gov/DCA